Packers ready for rematch with former KR Ross

Weston Hodkiewicz
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There were plenty of things the Green Bay Packers would rather forget from their 40-10 loss to the Detroit Lions last Thanksgiving.

You can be sure Jeremy Ross' 145 all-purpose yards with a touchdown are high on that list.

The 26-year-old receiver/returner has found new life with the Lions since he was cut loose from the Packers last September after fumbling an early kickoff in a 34-30 Week 3 loss to Cincinnati. It came eight months after a critical muffed punt in the Packers' playoff loss in San Francisco.

Ross arrived in Detroit on the practice squad before being promoted for last 10 games. During that stretch, he registered two returns for touchdowns and a punt-return average (16.2 yards per return) that was best among returners with at least 15 attempts.

Ross has taken on more responsibility this year. Along with his special-team duties, the 6-foot, 216-pound receiver has been working as the third receiver. He's played 80 offensive snaps in the Lions' first two games.

There's still a Jekyll and Hyde element to his game, though. He fumbled again on a kickoff in last week's 24-7 loss to Carolina. At the same time, Ross was visible in last year's blowout. He had a 5-yard touchdown catch, 24-yard run and a 35-yard punt return.

"He's done well," Packers special-teams coach Shawn Slocum said. "He's a good runner. He did well against us up there last year and then in the Philadelphia game last year in the snow had a really good game for them. Jeremy has always been a good runner. He's got three turnovers in a season-and-three games, as well."

It takes a lot to get cut by the Packers in-season. Ross and safety Jerron McMillian were the only two players who made the opening 53-man roster who were released during the 2013 campaign.

With Ross gone and Randall Cobb out with a broken leg, the Packers finished 30th in kickoff-return average (20.3). It led to coach Mike McCarthy promising the unit more resources this season.

The Packers still have taken a by-committee approach to handling returns through two games with running back DuJuan Harris mainly fielding kickoffs, and receiver Randall Cobb and defensive Micah Hyde alternating punts.

As for Ross departure from Green Bay, that's just the NFL. The Packers have been on the opposite side of things, too. Harris and receiver Jarrett Boykin were both cut in Jacksonville before resurfacing in Green Bay.

"I think players continue to develop," Slocum said. "When Jeremy was with us, he was a young guy. He's learned from his mistakes. He's done well in Detroit. He's a first-class citizen. He's a smart guy. He's a good football player and I'm not surprised he's done well."

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